Who’s #1? The Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge begins July 1

LA QUINTA  — As seasonal residents flea the area for cooler climes and searing temperatures settle in for the summer, the population dwindles leaving the local blood bank in dire need of blood.

To help keep the shelves stocked – and have fun doing it — Valley communities go head-to-head in the life-saving department July 1-August 31 during LifeStream Blood Bank’s Ninth Annual Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge.

This year’s initiative takes place at a critical time, as blood donations across the nation are down, often resulting in lack of emergency preparedness and day-to-day struggles to satisfy everyday hospital patient needs.

The summertime initiative takes on even more significance locally, as Valley population experiences a seasonal decrease, resulting in fewer available potential donors to satisfy hospitals’ needs for blood.

“The community wellness issue of available blood supply facing our communities is the most serious it has been in my 17 years with LifeStream,” said Rick Axelrod, MD, president/CEO and medical director. “I implore my fellow Valley residents to respond during the ‘challenge’ to give local surgeons the life-giving fuel they need to treat their patients.”

LifeStream is the exclusive blood provider for Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs; Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage; and JFK Memorial Hospital, Indio.

Nine Cities Challenge bragging rights are on the line with awards being given to the community that collects the most blood at drives within city limits; the community that hosts the most successful drive; and the community with the highest participation rate per total population (minimum 1.5% required).

“I want to emphasize that whether or not you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, you are eligible to donate blood,” Dr. Axelrod added.

9 Cities Blood Drive Challenge Set to BeginDonors receive, while supplies last, a commemorative 2021 Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge T-shirt.

In addition to donating blood at mobile drives, all Valley residents may participate by donating toward their city’s total at LifeStream’s La Quinta (79-215 Corporate Centre Drive) or Rancho Mirage (42390 Bob Hope Drive, next to Hobby Lobby) fixed-site locations. Just ask LifeStream staff to count the donation toward the respective city total. Donors who do so at either center also receive the commemorative event T-shirt.

Walk-ins are welcome at all locations; appointments may be made by calling 1.800.879.4484 or by clicking here.

The City of Palm Springs is the defending Nine Cities champion, having narrowly edged Palm Desert in 2020. The City of La Quinta was the 2019 champion; the City of Indio reigned from 2015-2018.

Donor safety is LifeStream’s #1 priority. Until further notice, LifeStream requires all donors and staff wear masks/face coverings to be admitted to donor waiting areas. LifeStream adheres to social distancing guidelines and has enhanced already strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

For more information on the Nine Cities Challenge, blood donation in general, or to make an appointment to “give the gift of life,” please call 800-879-4484 or click here.

Image Sources

  • San Bernardino Police Officer: LifeStream filel photo